Every year, Animals’-Angels USA holds a vigil by candle light that lights up the sky with the love of humans for animals. Let me put that another way: lights up the sky with the love we hold for the others we share this planet with. I sent a very, very personal missive to AA last year about the horses I grew up with…horses whose very presence lightened a childhood and adolescence fraught with, well, personal and family contradictions I agonized over. I wasn’t much different from people my age, some of whom knew worse, I’m sure.
Here I offer words I wrote when the CHDC held a Memorial when the Norval Slaughterhouse in Ontario was finally and permanently shut down; the Memorial was held on May 1, 2011 (I posted on that somewhere; look thru my Horse posts). These slaughtered equines–horses, minis, donkeys, mules and burros–were all owned equines whose service to us went unthanked, ultimately unappreciated to the point of not mere death, but a peculiarly human-engineered death…that of the terror of transport away from safety and love and human kindness to the cruel, unfeeling pathology of the abattoir. AA’s Vigil is on December 10th of this year: send your personal tribute to the animal(s) of your choice now. Herman Melville said: ’Silence is the voice of God’…maybe so, but He can see alright, and our candles will be a beacon of love He can hardly miss.
And so I wrote to, and for, the horses who passed through Cerberus at the Norval Horse Slaughterhouse…Read More
I haven’t been able to write about it. I was so lost without him, with knowing that he’d departed this world. You’ve all probably heard that Hickstead, the horse that brought Gold to Canada in the last Olympics, two days ago, at the age of nearly sixteen, dropped dead after a flawless jumping event in Verona, Italy, a major competition. If you haven’t heard of Hickstead, whose prime rider was Eric Lamaze, I don’t know where to begin…both in how to describe the intelligence and heart of this horse and in how to describe the intrinsic–let me say that again–the intrinsic value of this glorious creature. There is a post somewhere on my blog about an interview with Hickstead’s owner who said: ”he was a stumblebum at first…and then, he seemed to get it. He really got it…so I said to Eric, ‘don’t do anything. He knows what to do. Leave it to Hicks, sit back and just enjoy the ride.’” And truly, after watching many shows in which Hicks excelled, I must say that that is exactly how it looked to me: Hickstead seemed to analyse each jump, and decide how he was going to take it…and he did…he just did. Every single time. In an interview after his death, someone commented: ”Hickstead was not only the top event horse of Canada…he was considered the top event horse ever in history…ever.” Bless you beautiful boy, we love you and wish you godspeed to the heavens…where you belong. You made the world a better place and the world is a better place because of you. Go to: A Big Ask Answered on my blog or google Hickstead. Enlarge your appreciation and love of our horses by learning about Hickstead, “Canada’s Hero”. Oh, Eric, I do feel for your loss. Please share it with all of us who were amazed and breathless at the magnificence of a horse whose qualities transcended your riding skills and our expectations. Rest well, Hicks.Read More
Every now and then, I have a brainstorm…as opposed to my usual state, “bubblebrain”. I came across Carol Upton’s site almost by chance, circuitously anyway, as most “stumbles-upon” occur on the internet. When I read her site, I just knew that this was the person I’d been desperately wishing into existence to help me market GM and its message to the public. Now don’t get me wrong: I have marketing experience; I’m a pretty smart cookie, neurons only just lately starting to crumble, so I thought I’d done a pretty fair job so far. But now, Carol…well, Carol, like one of those gentle forces of nature–like a sudden wind that knocks you off your feet, or a downpour that wets you through and through before you’ve even processed that it’s raining–just shimmers into your circle like Gwenda in The Wizard of OZ, and carefully assesses your needs, dialogues with you (as a person and as a writer), and then produces results far beyond your expectations, and makes it appear so simple and easy, that you are left quite speechless (which, as you know, is a rare state for me). (I bet she has a magic wand on her person somewhere; it must be another ‘practical magic’ thing, eh.) So, before I go on to list and link to the important horse websites which Carol somehow persuaded to carry her excellent Press Review of GM, let me just say ‘thanks, Carol. I am most beholden to you.’ And one of the most heartwarming results of Carol’s work on Ground Manners’ behalf is that Yvonne Allen, who owns Voice for the Horse in Langley, BC, has asked me to provide, as a prize, a copy of my novel for their First Annual International Writing Competition. Now, I ask you: does lightning strike twice?Read More
As an adjunct to the CHDC petition in support of Bill C-322, I’ve had bilingual postcards printed up which constituents can send to their respective MP’s to let them know that support for this Bill is out there. Download the two sides of this postcard and send a postcard to your own MP (federal); then make more to give to your friends, neighbours, acquaintances, and family. MP’s pay attention to their own constituents in their own ridings, so the more of these postcards that are sent, the more our MP’s in all ridings across Canada will understand how much support for Bill C-322 (which opposes horse slaughter) is out there.
I can also send you ready-made postcards (between 10 and 25 for now). Just send me your postal address. There’s no charge (I’ll pay shipping too if you live in Canada). If I see that demand is more than expected, I’ll have more printed. Americans and international horse advocates are also invited to send these postcards. We need all the help we can get in getting Bill C-322 passed…and if that fails, ANY bill opposing horse slaughter, the import of horses for slaughter and the exportation of (tainted) horsemeat to foreign countries. Selling tainted meat to foreign countries is not part of Canada’s, nor Quebec’s, culture. Now…let’s get on with it and save our horses. If you have a problem accessing or downloading these images, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll email you the originals. Or go to the CHDC’s blog “Bilingual Postcards”, and download the postcard from there.
The charming stallion who appears in my Welcome post is Sky, an award-winning Welsh Pony stallion, owned by Deb Harper. Sky will be appearing at the Mane Event in Chilliwack, BC, as part of the breeds demonstration segment of this horse trade show. According to what I’ve read on the CHHAPS list (which will have a booth there), and from what Deb tells me, the Mane Event is attended by thousands and is a much-anticipated annual event by all horse owners and lovers.Read More
Deb and I became friends through the circuitous means of the internet. I needed a picture of a Canadien stallion (go to Ground Manners. A Novel to see the stallion featured on the cover). I first found Deb’s picture of the magnificent stallion, Swallowfield Eno Kelbeck, owned by Roxanne and Marty (see previous blog on My Gentle Reader), now standing at stud for canadream in Quebec. Unfortunately, Kal was being featured on the cover of another book on the history of le Canadien. I must admit that the way Deb took Kal’s picture–mane blazing and full frontal–made me fall in love; and I have since met Kal in person and I can vouch for his beauty, his pure expressiveness, his perfect conformation. Roxanne described the wisdom in his eyes, and it is truly there, for all to see. Roxanne referred me to Deb (bless you, Rox!). Immediately, Deb sent me several others of her pix, and, among them, I came across Bromont Loupin Prince, owned by Betty and Judi of Five Winds Farm in BC. It wasn’t the quality of the picture in this case; it wasn’t the background…it was him, his intelligence, his maturity, his gorgeously indented (concave or is it convex?) cheeks and wisdom-filled eyes. I was floored. I had to have him; GM had to feature him on the book cover. Deb visited Prince recently, and told me that he is as active as ever. He’s 25 or 26 now…mature for a stallion, I guess. I met many of his “get”, his progeny, at the CHHAPS show in Maple Ridge, but I never did get to meet the man himself, Prince, who is well-named, I’ve no doubt. Here are some pictures Deb took on her recent visit; none are of Prince but they are stunning reminders of how nature and horses belong to each other. I’m sure Betty and Judi won’t mind. I will be in BC next year…and God willing, Prince and I will meet…and I will thank this glorious creature for sharing this great, good earth with me, and everyone around him, just as I whispered to Kelbeck when I met him earlier this year. The breathtaking intelligence and beauty of horses always makes me think of the line in “The Colour Purple”: when you just walk by one of God’s perfect creations and not take notice of it, God must be insulted. I’ll say this for myself: I have never been in the presence of any equine and not bowed my head in respect, and not looked on in awe.